A painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo depicting her sister will be lead a group of 13 works owned by American music executive Jerry Moss to be offered at Christie’s this fall, where the group is expected to sell for a collective $50 million.
The grouping, which is being offered without the financial backing of a guarantee, will be auctioned at Christie’s New York in a dedicated evening sale next month and as part of a contemporary day sale on November 9 and 10, respectively.
Moss, who died at the age of 88 in August, made his name as a force in the music industry. He founded A&M Records with musician Herb Alpert, eventually helping to grow it from an independent label to a juggernaut that would go on to back the careers of major American artists such as the Carpenters, Joan Armatrading, Quincy Jones, and Janet Jackson.
Among the top lots is Kahlo’s 1928 painting Portrait of Cristina, My Sister, which Christie’s says is the only work by Kahlo to feature her younger sister. The work was made when Kahlo was still in the early phases of her career. When Kahlo completed the work, she still had a good relationship with Cristina, but their tie would eventually fracture after Cristina led an affair with the painter Diego Rivera, Frida’s husband.
Estimated to fetch a price between $8 million–12 million, the work is expected to be among the most valuable of paintings by Kahlo offered in a public sale. Moss bought it in 2001 for $1.7 million at Sotheby’s, when it was sold during a Latin American Art sale held in New York.
Over the past two decades, Kahlo’s figures at auction have soared. In 2021, when a self-portrait by Kahlo sold for a $34.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York, it set a new benchmark that was four times her record of $8 million. The painting from the Moss collection is poised to become the second-most expensive work by Kahlo sold at public auction if it reaches its estimate.
But, in a joint statement, Max Carter, Christie’s vice chairman of 20th and 21st century art, and Marysol Nieves, Christie’s senior specialist in Latin American art, said this estimate was actually “conservative,” given what they described as the piece’s “rarity.”
Tina Moss, the music executive’s widow, is overseeing the Christie’s sale of the estate. She said Moss possessed a distinct confidence in his tastes that set him apart from his peers. “He did not want to purchase something because someone told him he should,” she said.
Also on offer will be a painting by Tamara de Lempicka, whose auction prices have risen in recent years. The work, titled Fillette en rose, shows her young daughter Kizette reading a book. Carrying an estimate of $7 million–$10 million, the work, which Moss had held onto since 1982, is poised to become one of Lempicka’s most valuable paintings to ever be auctioned.
Lempicka saw a new record when her 1932 painting Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932) sold for £16.2 million ($21.1 million) at Christie’s in London in February 2020.
Additionally, works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Thomas Hart Benton, and Max Ernst will also be offered. Prices for those lots range between $2 million and 10 million.